The Most Common Acura Problems

Transmission failures are one of the most common Acura problems, but look out for brake issues, fuel pump failures, and driveshaft trouble as well.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Transmission issues are the most common problem seen in Acura’s, along with fuel pump failures, airbag recalls, driveshaft separations, and brake problems.  
There’s no such thing as a perfect car. Even automakers with excellent reputations for efficiency, affordability, and reliability produce cars that see the same problems crop up over and over. 
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What are the most common Acura problems?

As the luxury and performance division of Honda, Acura cars benefit from the same rock-solid Japanese engineering that gives Hondas their reputation for reliability. However, that doesn’t mean that Acuras are without problems. Here are some of the most common problems across Acura’s five current models: 
  • Denso fuel pump failures
  • Takata airbag recalls 
  • Transmission problems
Overall, the 2015 Acura TLX is the model that’s experienced the most problems, with four major recalls and 250 complaints to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
. By comparison, the brand’s sleek NSX sports car and ILX subcompact executive car experience fairly few problems, with the 2019 Acura ILX ranking as the most reliable vehicle. 
For a complete breakdown of the most common Acura problems in the models on the market in 2022, check out the table below.
Starting price
J.D. Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
Transmission problems, defective TRW crash sensor, engine stalling
2015, 2016
Brake problems, infotainment/navigation defects
2019, 2016, 2010
Clutch issues, A/C malfunctions, ABS leak
1995, 1996
Transmission failures, excessive oil consumption, HandsFreeLink drains battery
2014, 2004, 2016
Transmission issues
2018, 2014, 2016
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Most common Acura TLX problems

Average annual repair cost: $440 complaints: 232
The TLX’s dual-clutch transmission is the source of major headaches for Acura drivers. At times, driving this luxury sedan can feel more like riding an unruly mechanical bronco, thanks to slipping gears, especially in cold weather or stop-and-go traffic
Problems with the idle air control system and exhaust recirculation valve have also led to engine stalling and difficulty starting for some TLX drivers. And, in a potentially deadly combination, improperly manufactured crash sensors on some TLX sedans disabled the seat belt pretensioners and airbags

Most common Acura RDX problems 

Average annual repair cost: $497 complaints: 161
Unlike most Acuras, the RDX SUV doesn’t have major transmission problems. What it does have is a terrible track record with braking issues
Squealing, squeaking, and wailing are just a few of the words RDX drivers have applied to their brakes. Regular brake maintenance is a must for any RDX owner. Watch out, too, for problems with the infotainment and navigation systems, which have a tendency to fail on some models. 

Most common Acura NSX problems 

Average annual repair cost: $354 complaints: 0
The high-performance standout of Acura’s lineup, the NSX experiences relatively few mechanical problems—as it should, given the steep price point! However, some drivers have reported issues with the clutch on the manual transmission, along with A/C malfunctions and leaks in the anti-lock brake system (ABS)

Most common Acura MDX problems 

Average annual repair cost: $571 complaints: 374
Holy transmission problems, Batman! The MDX SUV is notorious for transmission failures, leading to everything from blinking check engine lights to some seriously rough driving. In most cases, these problems are linked to faulty torque converters—and the bill for that repair can soar up to (and above!) $1,000
On top of major transmission problems, the MDX is prone to excessive oil consumption on the 2011 model, and some drivers reported a parasitic battery drain when they used the vehicle’s HandsFreeLink Bluetooth system. 

Most common Acura ILX problems

Average annual repair cost: $435 complaints: 27
Like most Acuras, the ILX executive car has seen some transmission issues over the years, with 2016 and 2014 standing out for these problems. 
However, the most serious problem associated with the ILX is a separated driveshaft. In 2019, Acura issued a recall for 2016-2019 vehicles that saw a tendency for the driveshaft to separate from the half shaft. Not only was this problem dangerous, but it also created some impressively steep repair bills! 
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Are Acura cars reliable?

In general, Acura gets decent ratings for reliability from experts like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. While luxury competitors like Lexus perform consistently better in terms of reliability, Acura models still benefit from the solid basis of Honda engineering. 
According to Repair Pal, the average annual repair cost across all Acura models is $501. This puts Acura above the average for annual repair costs, particularly for its least reliable model: the TLX flagship sedan. 

The least reliable Acura model: 2015 Acura TLX

Most common problem: Transmission jerkiness
NHTSA complaints: 250 
Acura’s swanky TLX sedan offers a luxury driving experience at a lower price point than many of its competitors, and it’s tricked out with all the latest driver assistance technology. However, it’s also got more customer complaints than any other Acura model—especially for the initial 2015 model year. 
What happened in 2015? Well, it seems like Acura hadn’t worked out all the kinks with its new luxury sedan, leaving the car with a faulty transmission that jerked violently between gears. In fact, the TLX’s initial ride was so far from buttery-smooth that
a class-action lawsuit was initiated in 2015

The most reliable Acura model: 2020 Acura ILX

Most common problem: Separated driveshaft
NHTSA complaints: 1
At the other end of the spectrum, Acura’s most affordable model is also its most reliable. Starting at just $28,345, the ILX subcompact executive car is the only Acura model to break through J.D. Power’s “Average” category for quality and reliability ratings and earn a “Great” score. 

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And the savings? At an average of $887 a year, they’re more than enough to cover the average annual repair cost for any Acura. 
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With proper maintenance, Acuras can last up to 20 years or 300,000 miles.
Reliability is about more than just the rate of problems—it’s also a matter of affordability! Acura’s cars see a relatively low rate of serious mechanical problems, thanks to the same sturdy engineering that gives Honda a good name. However, because they’re luxury cars, the most common Acura problems cost more to repair and maintain than for other vehicles.
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